A little off the beaten path on Powell St at Princess Ave in the DTES you’ll find Fat Dragon Bar-B-Q. The menu, full of dishes that I guarantee you’ve never seen before, is delivering bold American southern barbeque complimented by delicate Asian flavours. Thick Cut Szechaun Peppercorn Cured Pork Belly and Smoked Pig’s Snout Fried Rice? Yes please! But I was there for one reason, actually two reasons…a sandwich and a beer.
Every day, Fat Dragon does up three Banh Mi sandwiches, one meat, one fish, and one veggie, with a different main ingredient each day. One of the sandwiches they were featuring the day I wandered in, was a Clam Banh Mi. Breaded, deep fried clams from Sawmill Bay delivered fresh each day, on a fresh baked French baguette made to order with pickled vegetables, jalapenos and smoked “QPD” mayonnaise. “QP” stands for kewpie mayonnaise (the most popular brand of Japanese mayonnaise). The “D” stands for dragon because the Fat Dragon mayo is smoked.
This sandwich was incredible. I can honestly say I’ve never had anything like it. The clams were super flavourful as you would expect and super crunchy, adding great texture to the sandwich. The pickled vegetables added that great tangy flavour that expect from a Banh Mi, the fresh jalapenos gave it some kick and the smoked mayo made it totally unique. This Banh Mi sandwich pays great tribute to the traditional, while adding a completely original take. For $10 you get the sandwich plus a papaya salad of cabbage, green papaya, mint, chili, lime and crispy shallots.
Fat Dragon offer up a great selection of local, regional and international beers and totally original cocktails. I chose to pair this sandwich with a beer from a great brewery based in Seattle, Elysian Brewing’s Dragonstooth Stout. By name alone this was a good decision, but the stout and clams combo is also a classic. The Elysian Dragonstooth Stout is a rich, complex, full-bodied imperial oatmeal stout. Very drinkable – satisfying, but not heavy. It’s velvety smooth, and it’s roasted malt flavour and notes of coffee and chocolate pair awesome with the unique combination of flavours in the sandwich. I think the smoked mayonnaise may have been designed to go with this beers taste profile. Top marks to Elysian’s Dragonstooth Stout for delivering everything I was hoping for.
So, if you’re looking for unique spin on a pretty classic pairing, then head to Fat Dragon Bar-B-Q for This Sandwich and That Beer.
Also, catch my monthly radio feature on, “Just Here For The Beer Radio” on AM 650.
Photo Credits: Mel Yap